October 10, 2019
Dear UT Community,
Yesterday, we and the entire world received extraordinary news — UT Engineering Professor John Goodenough was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in chemistry for the development of lithium-ion batteries.
Professor Goodenough has been on our faculty since 1986, where he serves as the Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Chair of Engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering. He also holds faculty positions in the Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
The Nobel Prize is a monumental achievement reflecting the transcendent impact of Professor Goodenough’s research. It is hard to imagine contemporary society without his discoveries. The lives of billions of people have been touched by his work.
In 1979, Professor Goodenough identified and developed the materials to stabilize lithium-ion batteries and expand their potential for use. In simple terms, his invention prevented these batteries from catching fire. Today, batteries incorporating Goodenough’s materials are used worldwide for mobile phones, power tools, laptops, tablets and other wireless devices, as well as electric and hybrid vehicles.
For more than 30 years, Professor Goodenough has had a profound influence on the Forty Acres as he has continued his research in material science for energy applications. Through his teaching and research, he has inspired and supported generations of scientists and engineers. At age 97, he is the oldest person to receive a Nobel Prize. And I know he plans to continue mentoring and discovering for many years to come.
I first met Professor Goodenough more than 10 years ago when I was dean of engineering, and he is as enthralled by science, discovery and invention as he ever has been. My sincere congratulations to Professor Goodenough on earning the Nobel Prize.
Gregory L. Fenves